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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 1, 1918)
lECH, 1918 .
issia Arising frornr
ished in The New York American, Feb. 3.1
elher the Bolshevik! government will bo
to maintain itself remains to be seen. Its
nsion of war activities greatly encouraged
illtary party in Germany, but its revolu-
y doctrines may be a greater menace to the
1 powers than its sheHs would be. Its
ganda is exerting a profound influence up-
e suggestion of peace has found a response
e breasts of the war-worn Austrians and
dan agitation which is shaking the dual
rchy and causing mutinies in the land of
kaiser. The sinister motives of Germany
Heen uncovered and her imperialistic de-
against Russian territory exposed.
ont dispatches indicate that there is a
I beyond which the new government will
o, ana its rejection oi uerman lernia may
than offset the harm caused by the teni-
y cessation of hostilities.
e President has dealt wisely with the sit-
n, exhibiting the same infinite patience that
d toward the Mexicans.
THE FUNDAMENTAL FACTS.
a Russian situation undergoes rapid and
times violent changes from day to day, but
in underlying facts do not change, and they
ine in making a forecast as to the lines
which permanent progress is probable.
rst It must be remembered that the Jttus-
people have passed through a long period
.'espotism. Until a few years ago the word
lia was a synonym for tryanny. During the
night of suffering the people were accu&-
d to arrest without warning, imprisonment
nut. Inst cause and execution without trial.
ng these days desperation brought its fruit-
n Nihilism men, goaded to despair, strucK
with such weapons as they had at nana.
isophical anarchy became a recognized
. hnsfid unrtn familiarity with the coercive
Irof government pnly. So far as the general
rnment was concernea, it gave iub peopio
idea of the co-operative work wnicn is m
ingly undertaken in governments which are
y degree popular In form. The Russian was
anmiHtomed to the invitation, "Let us work
ither for the common good"; he only knew
threat of "Thou shalt not" a tnreat exe
d without tho safeguards of representative
DUMA MUST" BE CONSIDERED
rt ludement as to Russia's present condition
'future prospects can be of any value that
ig not take Into consideration tne past, witn
awful story of cruelty and Injustice.
ippmiri Tho Duma, with hones excited only
,v stifled, and its tragic exneriences. is an-
ier fact that must be taken into considera-
n. me first uuma was aissoiveu wuuu it wbb
,nd that the people, when given a voice, ex-
ased themselves" In no uncertain language
:inst the autocracy under which. the masses
ered. A restriction of the franchise made
aannnH Tiiimn Ipsa radical than the first, but
11 too radical for the- Czar and his advisers.
,ch new obstruction which the executive
fid in the way of development of represent
ee government added to the force of popular
timent, which finally swept away tne nam
h which the government sought to restrain
Hie current of the public opinion.
'Third Finally the moment came when the
irit of revolt spread throughout the land! the
ivoriSniAnt forces turned their bayonets against
iose in authority and drove the Czar into exile.
it tn ho wondered at that a people so long
jppressed and constrained should have turned
berty into license wnen once tne grip ol me
line class was broken? The Russian people
ould have been more than human had, they
:hibited the seir-controi wnicn is to db expect
among those accustomea to tne responsiDii-
ies of free government. - ,,
THE LESSON OF DEMOCRACY .
Peoples iar more advanced in the science of
overnment and in the art of its administration
ave been frenzied by outrages and intoxicated
vmirt.li As the child must be expected to
tumble and fall while it is learning to. walk,
i o people must ue expectea to learn tne ways
of democracy by experience that may at times
be bitter and oxpenslvd. The substitution of tho
rule of one class for tho rule of another Is
likely to be tho first effect of an attempt at pop
ular government, so far does tho substance lag
behind tho form.
Those who contribute most to the securing of
a change in government quite naturally claim
an undue share in the control of tho new gov
ernment, even when they most passionately pro
claim their devotion to equality and fraternity.
They are likely, too, to be suspicious of those
outside of their own group.
We must assume that all men are capable of
self-government; to think otherwiso would, as
Clay expressed it, be a reflection on the Al
mighty, for it would be equivalent to accusing
Him of creating man helpless and then leaving
him to be tho victim of kings and emperors.
But while all are capable of self-government,
some have higher capacity than others, a capa
city for better government. People improve in
the mass as well as individually. As they grow
in virtue, in intelligence and in self-restraint,
they learn patience and tolerance, and, above
all, they learn that acquiescence in the ox
pressed will of the people is the first principle
THE HANDICAP OF IGNORANCE
Fifth It must bo remembered, too, that tho
present situation is complicated by a pro-Ger-fan
influence. The Berlin government, having
every reason to fear the success of a republic,
zealously cultivates division and factionalism.
If that Influence can work in a country like
this, as it has worked, deceiving the well
meaning by intrigue and false rumors, how
much more successfully can it operate in a coun
try like Russia, with a large illiterate element
to work upon, and without a free, informed
public opinion or any form of discussion or rec
ognized medium for expressing the popular will.
Sixth The revolutionists have had one fact
of which they have made diligent use, namely,
the seeming unity of the people in support of
the doctrine that Russia shall demand neither
indemnities nor annexations. Surrendering for
themselves all thought of increasing their terri
tory by conquest, they are open to the appeals
of all those who argue that they should not
make sacrifices to secure for others that which
they do not demand for themselves.
Seventh The two factors upon which the
hope of future New Russia rests are time and
the almost universal hostility to autocracy. '
In time, revenge will run its course, passion
will subside, the edge of resentment will be
dulled, and reason will resume her sway. "This,
too, shall pass away," is the silver lining of
every cloud, however dark.
Just now class hatreds are intense, but tho
very intensity of the struggle will hasten the
period of exhaustion, when the parties, too
weary to fight longer, will have to become ac
quainted with each other and compare views.
They will then find common ground in a com
mon hatred of the government overthrown, and
in a common fear lest disagreement among those
newly-set-free may invite a return to that from
which they have escaped!
It is evident that "the ruling family had so
completely alienated the masses that there is no
probablity of the Czar being recalled, although
his shadow will have an influence in compelling
unity. Any suggestion of a return to monarchy
will be a. signal for co-operation among those,
now lighting among themselves.
Our country has every reason to extend to
Russia a helping hand. Even when Russia was
an unlimited monarchy, that nation was friendly
to the United States, and now that the Russian
people have adopted our theory of government
and' are trying to translate our political prin
ciples in the language of Europe, the hearts of
the American people" go out to Russia, and our
prayers are offered in her behalf.
DICKENS AS A PROPHET
While the world is waiting for order to be
restored, it may be well to re-read the philoso
phical comments with which Charles Dickens
concludes his "Tale of Two Cities." The follow
ing words of the great novelist though written
many years ago as accurately. describe the
present chaos in Russia as they did the horrors
of-the French .Revolution: . ,,
" "Along the ParisStreets the death car.tg
rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrils carry
the day's wine to La Guillotine. AH, the de
vouring and insatiate monsters imagined since
imagination could record itself are fused in the
PRESIDENT EXTENDS TO RUSSIA
THE SYMPATHY OF AMERICA
An Associated Press dispatch, dated
Washington, D. C, March 11, says:
Words of sympathy and encouragement
for tho people of Russia in the dark hour
of German invasion and Internal strife
woro sent by President Wilson today in
a message telegraphed to the American
consul general at Moscow for delivery
through the congress of Soviets which
assembles there tomorrow. Tho message
"May I not take advantage of tho
mcoting of tho congress of tho Soviets
to express the sincere sympathy which
tho people of the United States feel for
the Russian people at this moment when
tho German power has been thrust in to
interrupt and turn back tho wholo strug
gle for freedom and substitute the wishes
of Germany for tho purpose of the people
"Although tho government of tho
United States is, unhappily, not now In a
position to render tho direct and
effective aid it would wish to ren
der, I beg to assure tho people of
Russia, through the congress, that
it will avail itsolf of every opportun
ity to secure for Russia once more com
plete sovereignty and independence in
her own affairs, and full restoration to
her great role in the life of Europe and
tho modern world. Tho whole heart of
the people of tho United State? is with
tho people of Russia in the attempt to
free themselves forever from autocratic
government and become the masters of
their own life.
one realization, Guillotine. And yet thore' Igiiot
in France, with its rich variety of soil arid" cli-'
mate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a sprig, a pepper
corn, which will grow to maturity under condi
tions moro certain that those that have produced
this horror. Crush humanity out of shape onco
more, Under similar hammers, and it will twlsfc
itself Into the same tortured forms. Sow 'the
same seeds of rapacious license and oppression:
over again and it will surely yield the same f rule
according to its kind.
"Six tumbrils roll along the streets. Changa
these back again to what they were, thou pow
erful enchanter, Time, and they shall be seen tel
bo tho carriages of absolute monarchs, the;
equipages of feudal nobles, the toilets of flaring?
Jezebels, the churches that are not my Father's
hpuse, but dens of thieves, the huts of millions,
of starving peasants!
"No; the great magician who majestically;
works out the appointed order of the Creator
never reverses his transformation." ,
W. J. BRYAN.
Most western newspapers of importance pasf
for the newspapers they receive, and they have
been wondering recently why it is that the
Washington Times, which was recently pur-J
chased for Arthur Brisbane, is being sent them;
without any request for payment or for ex
change, and with' the label indfeating that it
has been paid for .a year in advance. "But iq
was not long," says the Sioux City Journal, at
favordd one, "left in the dark. The most cas-
ual inspection of the Times discloses that it id
more interested in the liquor business, in thef
overthrow of prohibition where it hasbeen es-i
tablished, and in the defeat of tho proposed na
tional prohllition amendment' than anything;
else. Whether .Jt Is true .hat the money witty
which Mr. Brisbane purchased the Times wa
supplied by the liquor Interests, the Journal'
does not know of its own knowledge. The Times,
however, bears, every evidence that it has been,',
subsidized by tho liquor interests."
It isn't the war that is producing the largo
crop of socialists that is so apparent. The big
gest socialist-factory Jn this country is the pack
ing house district of Chicago, . and it haa
branches wherever tho profit-grabbers are at
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